The European Commission adopted the Annual Action Programme 2012 for Armenia in the framework of the Eastern Partnership, accelerating justice reform and preparing the ground for increased bilateral relations, political association and economic integration with the EU.
The new assistance will include: new training opportunities for key national institutions, providing expert advice and best practice, setting up of schools for lawyers, judges and prosecutors. The overall goal is an independent, transparent and effective judiciary to serve the Armenian people, and builds on the EU’s previous support to judicial reform in Armenia.
The funding will also support those Armenian institutions involved in the preparation and future implementation of new EU-Armenia agreements currently being negotiated, and in particular the Association Agreement (including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area), and the Visa Facilitation and Re-admission Agreement.
In total, the Annual Action Programme 2012 provides €60 million of bilateral allocation to Armenia. The assistance comes through the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI).
The Programme is composed of three parts:
- Support for justice reform in Armenia – Phase II, to contribute to the development of a more independent, transparent, accountable, accessible and efficient judicial system, in line with the national strategies of justice reforms. It follows and builds on the results of the current EU support programmes in the sector.
- Support for the EU-Armenia Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) to ensure that Armenia takes all the necessary measures to maximise the benefits of substantial new trade opportunities under the DCFTA, and that these benefits are enjoyed by citizens.
- Support for EU-Armenia Agreements to enhance the overall technical and coordination capacity of a number of core institutions that are important in preparing and later on implementing the Association Agreement, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area and Visa Facilitation/Readmission Agreement.
The Association Agreement is a new framework for stronger and deeper bilateral relations between the European Union and Armenia. It is currently the closest contractual tie that can exist between the EU and a third country. It also helps to liberalise trade (through the deep and comprehensive free trade area –DCFTA), as well as engaging in dialogues on visa-free regimes (Visa Liberalisation Action Plan – VLAP).